Fear keeps a lot of people from travelling, and perhaps even more from travelling alone. Women in particular are told there’s power in numbers, and if you’re thinking of going outside the Western world, forget about it. Having reservations about your upcoming travels is natural, and if you have a great partner, traveling with companions can be quite enjoyable. But don’t be too quick to write off going solo.
You’ll have freedom and flexibility.
The greatest benefit to traveling without anyone else to weigh you down is the freedom. No need for compromises, no obligation to pursue someone else’s interests. When you’re out in the world on your own, you have only yourself to listen to. Seek out the sights you care about, dine at the restaurants you’d like to try, stay in accommodations that make you comfortable. If you arrive in a destination and fall in love with it, you can extend your stay with minimal hassle. Likewise, if you want to move on sooner than planned, you can pick up and go, no outside approval necessary. In short, when you travel alone, you can do whatever you want.
It’s safer than you think.
Thoughts of safety are probably the biggest roadblock between most would-be jetsetters and their travel dreams. With nobody else to watch your back, your safety on the road is completely up to you – this much is true. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be safe. Generally speaking, the world is a much safer place than inexperienced tourists expect, particularly if you research your destination and follow a few common sense precautions. What’s more, when you’re not in a group, you stand a better chance of blending in instead of attracting the wrong kind of attention.
It’s easier to meet people.
Many aspiring travelers think they’ll be lonely if they don’t travel with friends or family. While loneliness can certainly be part of your experience, there are plenty of ways to meet people on the road. In fact, when you don’t have any other companions, you’re more likely to interact with locals and fellow travelers. If introducing yourself to strangers isn’t your strong suit, stay in a hostel or use a travel website like Couchsurfing, Airbnb, or Eatwith to facilitate your connections.
You’ll become more confident.
Think back on one of your past accomplishments. The first time you changed a tire by yourself, or completing a major project at work. That same feeling of pride and confidence comes from traveling alone. All the decisions on the road are yours, as are all the discoveries. It’s certainly more difficult to make travel arrangements yourself than it is to book an organized group tour. Figuring out your flight, accommodations, insurance, and city transportation can be complicated, and that doesn’t even touch the meat of your itinerary. But untangling that web on your own is richly rewarding. You never know how much you’re capable of until you try.